Trump reshapes American justice as Democrats fracture

CNN's Boris Sanchez reports on President Donald Trump's latest tweet attacking the four federal prosecutors that quit the Roger Stone case after top Justice Department officials undercut them and disavowed the government's recommended sentence against Stone.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 11:10 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 11:10 AM

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the prison sentence that career prosecutors were seeking against his old friend Roger Stone was too rough.

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice went against its own line prosecutors and sought a lighter sentence for Trump's longtime friend and informal political adviser, who had lied to the Mueller investigation and who had been in contact with WikiLeaks in 2016.

All four prosecutors withdrew from the case. Read the story here.

Trump told reporters he didn't ask the DOJ to seek a lighter sentence. Arguably, he didn't have to after he called it a "horrible and very unfair situation" on social media. Ultimately, the presiding judge in the case will have the final say on Stone's sentence.

But Trump did put the skids on the nomination of Jessie Liu, who oversaw the Stone prosecution as the former US attorney for the District of Columbia and was up for a top job at the Treasury Department.

The timing -- Appearing on CNN, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal compared it to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre and said it appeared the administration timed the announcement so that it would be overshadowed by the New Hampshire primary.

Note: This is not Trump's first Saturday Night Massacre. It's his third or fourth -- He's fired people for not putting unconstitutional orders in place (Sally Yates). He's fired people, ultimately, for defying him on special counsel Robert Mueller (Jeff Sessions). He's fired people for investigating him (James Comey). Now prosecutors are quitting because his DOJ wants to go easier on his friend.

The pattern -- This is the Trump administration post-impeachment. Trump's will goes. And they're not even trying to hide it. Here's what I wrote last week on that, which still applies.

Trump isn't done with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman -- The former National Security Council official who testified at impeachment hearings was marched out of the White House on Friday. On Tuesday, Trump said it would be up to the military whether to pursue disciplinary action against Vindman. The military has promised Vindman would not suffer any retribution.

The race to face Trump in November

Here are some takeaways from New Hampshire. Full updates here.

Bernie Sanders is the front-runner! The democratic socialist senator from Vermont won New Hampshire, CNN projects. He sits atop national polls. He pulled off a virtual tie in Iowa, where the caucus results are still being contested.

But Sanders way underperformed 2016. It's a bigger field of candidates this year, so it may not be surprising, but Sanders isn't coming anywhere near the 60% of the primary vote he enjoyed against Hillary Clinton. He's about half as strong in New Hampshire this year.

Elizabeth Warren needs to think very hard. She once led Democratic polls. She fell to a distant fourth in New Hampshire, a portion of which is in the metro area of the state she represents. She had plans for so many policy proposals. Her plan for delegate acquisition is not working. If she can't win in New Hampshire, which was won by a fellow liberal, where can she win?

Amy Klobuchar is now in the picture. The Minnesota senator is moving fast and jumped into the increasingly crowded middle lane with Pete Buttigieg. She's getting support from college-educated voters, and from voters over 65.

Buttigieg is for real. A week after winning Iowa, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and full-on millennial showed his performance closer to home wasn't an exception.

This race is far from over. Joe Biden, the former front-runner, pulled out of New Hampshire early and left for South Carolina. He's banking on support from African American voters there, and is not even focusing on Nevada, which comes first.

The middle lane is a crowded place. If you add up the support for Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Biden, you've got more than half the primary voters in New Hampshire. You could argue there was more support for moderates than liberals like Sanders and Warren. It's notable that Sanders won even though more than half of Democratic primary voters said in exit polls that his policies are too liberal.

Not every contender was on the ballot in New Hampshire. Mike Bloomberg, who is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars (chump change for someone worth tens of billions) was not on the ballot in New Hampshire.

Health care is Democrats' top issue, but they disagree on it. Exit polls in New Hampshire showed that health care was the top single issue for Democratic primary voters, confirming what entrance polls in Iowa showed. However, in New Hampshire, while a majority of Democratic voters support the idea of dong away with private insurance, a third did not. If Democrats are not unanimously for "Medicare for All," it will be impossible to pass in Washington.

Age matters. Half of Democratic primary voters said in entrance polls that age was a factor. Those voters sided with Klobuchar, not the youngster Buttigieg or the much older Sanders, suggesting there's something of a Goldilocks test among certain voters.

Andrew Yang dropped out. The businessman, who pushed a universal basic income proposal and raised the alarm about robots taking American jobs, has dropped out. He was a welcome and interesting voice on the debate stage, but it didn't turn into support on primary day. (Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also left the race.)

And one key question: Can any of these white politicians mobilize the Obama coalition?

More of the party backs moderate candidates, but Sanders, with his base, is winning. Among the Democrats remaining in the race and doing well are a Jewish democratic socialist from New York, a gay Christian from South Bend and a woman from the Midwest. We haven't yet gotten to the primaries with diverse voters. What's going to happen with them? We'll see.

Bloomberg will have to Xerox this apology

It was only a matter of time before Bloomberg was forced to face his past policies and how he is perceived by African American voters because of them.

Specifically, his embrace of "stop and frisk" policies in New York has not aged well. Even worse are comments he made behind closed doors to an elite audience in Aspen a few years back.

He's now apologized twice. He'll have to do it again and again.

Here are the comments, which aren't new, but are jarring:

"Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims" fit the same profile, Bloomberg says. "You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 16 to 25."

He continues: "One of the unintended consequences is people say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that is true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that is true. Why did we do it? Because that's where all the crime is."

In a statement Tuesday, he apologized again after he first did so in November. He argued he had inherited "stop and frisk" and explained he had cut the policy back.

"By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized -- and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."

Will that be enough to satisfy a party that depends on minority voters?

Sanders vs. Buttigieg

Buttigieg won a national essay contest in high school lionizing Sanders. Seriously. Now Sanders is attacking Buttigieg for taking money from billionaires. And Buttigieg has said that in his effort to take down Trump he doesn't mind if billionaires want to chip in. Read this.

What are we doing here?

The American system of government has been challenged to deal with a singular President and a divided country that will decide whether he should get another four years in the White House.

Stay tuned to this newsletter as we continue to track developments and keep watch over the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential campaign and other issues of critical interest.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
Steuben300740
Adams291635
Ripley287145
Wabash286345
Whitley286324
Huntington278757
Putnam278046
Jasper274933
White262038
Daviess255671
Jefferson242738
Fayette239248
Decatur237382
Greene229259
Posey225626
Wells225146
LaGrange222061
Scott212837
Clay212432
Randolph204940
Jennings188635
Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
Jay160521
Fulton156829
Owen155536
Carroll150115
Orange146333
Rush145618
Vermillion141633
Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
Tipton126232
Pike111325
Blackford105122
Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
Crawford7229
Martin68013
Warren6427
Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
Unassigned0372

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
Lorain17563207
Mahoning16430334
Lake14941134
Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
Ottawa275534
Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
Champaign233727
Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
Paulding137521
Noble116138
Meigs99021
Monroe93827
Harrison8428
Morgan75826
Vinton64013
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